Thursday, September 22, 2011

Lost Cries from the Emerald Triangle


In 1996 the Willis’ and their friends were harvesting the good life. Secluded in the mountains of Northern California, they lived like simple farmers and ignored the rat race. They existed like many in working hard and paying their taxes. Unlike the majority, they were making their livelihood growing medicinal marijuana. In the blink of an eye, their harmony becomes shattered when Thomas Willis mistakenly shoots a federal agent.
Barricading themselves in their home out of fear, the events quickly spiral out of control into a grueling thirteen day standoff. Armed with simple rifles and homemade weapons, they bide their time in a house with no electricity. Tormented by their would-be captors outside, Thomas decides to keep a journal, and page by page he documents the daily struggle of being imprisoned in his own home. As the farming colony is killed off one by one, Thomas comes to the conclusion that he must get his son to safety before it is too late. Thirteen days of hell boils down to mere moments and every second counts.
Available at in paperback and Kindle. Also at Barnes & Nobel in paperback and nook. 


Sandra Sanchez, Book Pleasures

Lost Cries from the Emerald Triangle is a book I wish I’d had the creativity and courage to write and I am thrilled that Paul Allih did. It is an important book on many levels. The author is clearly well versed in portions of our history that are not traditionally taught in public schools and he folds descriptions of important historical political events into the narrative by a clever mechanism. The entire novel is the journal that the narrator keeps while he, his family and friends are besieged in their Northern California home by government troops for 13 days. His intention is clearly to preserve the truth because he knows what spin the government agents will put on it. The plot is simple and tragic: two families move out of the urban rat race to farm legal medical marijuana on land in and near the small town of Redwood Valley . Encouraged by undercover DEA agents posing as legitimate buyers they cultivate more plants than their allotment. One night the narrator shoots at a thief in the greenhouse only to find out the thief was a DEA agent. This brings out the troops and the tanks, their crop is destroyed and a sadistic sergeant with a bullhorn taunts them. The power is cut off and their only connection to the outside world is a radio. By listening to two competing radio personalities the people barricaded in their house learn about the lies being told to the public and also hear about protestors who try to rally to their support at the end of their road. The narrator wants to remain and fight for the truth to come out instead of being railroaded in the legal system which he describes (accurately I think) as a system of laws created as a “guise to give shelter to the rich using the bones of the poor.”
Without disclosing too much of the heartrending plot I will say that an initial incident reminds the others that they cannot trust the people outside and that they are not likely to get out alive. The narrator remembers and describes other incidents like Ruby Ridge and Waco and reflects on the history of government wrongdoing and cover up from the Ludlow massacre to Iran /Contra that dominated the news briefly before it disappeared from serious public scrutiny. Interspersed with the narrator’s reflections on factual history are lyrically beautiful descriptive scenes of intense tragedy.This book advocates a sane and sensible approach to the use of marijuana reminding us not only of the history lesson we should have learned from prohibiton in the thirtes but also reminding readers that while marijuana is a naturally growing plant that has been demonized, Big Pharma is allowed to flood the market and charge big bucks for all kinds of chemical products that have a list of side effects far worse than the conditions they claim to relieve (to quote some warnings from their ads: “including death” and they are not kidding). The book also advocates a sane and sensible investigation into the greedy motives behind too many of our laws. I once said about Toni Morrison’s Beloved, that it was a masterpiece but not for the faint hearted and I’d say the same now about Lost Cries From the Emerald Triangle. It will put you there at the scene feeling the pain.

Skunk Magazine Vol. 7, Issue 1

To say the events spiral out of control in Lost cries from the Emerald Triangle would be a drastic understatement. The novella by Paul Allih blurs fact and fiction in the storytelling of a family living in the mountains of Northern California, farming medical marijuana. The trouble begins when the patriarch of the family and small group of farmers mistakenly shoots a federal agent that he finds trespassing on his property. The horrific story of what follows is made all the more visceral by referencing actual events where the law has committed heinous acts in the name of prohibition or drug law enforcement. Due to some dicey decision making, the group finds itself barricaded inside their home, facing off against the DEA with no electricity or access to a media being fed steady diet of lies and misinformation. The story is told from the journal entries documenting the 13-day standoff and will have you flying through the pages. - AB

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